I love Internet Marketing. It’s what I do full-time. It’s my job, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other (except maybe professional tropical beach lounger, but I’m not so sure that exists. Yet.) There’s a lot of misinformation out there about Internet Marketing though.

Can Internet Marketing be very lucrative? Yes, absolutely. Are you instantly going to become a millionaire because you started an Internet Marketing career? No, of course not. Internet Marketing is hard work and you’ll never hear me say otherwise. It takes time to build a business. You can jumpstart it if you have the money (website flipping, PPC ads, etc.) but for the most part, you’re starting a business from scratch. Be prepared to put in some hard work.

Internet Marketing Scams

There are, however, plenty of people who are going to try and tell you differently. They’ll tell you how easy it is to make money online. Starting with…

Push Button Scams

“Push Button” products are all the rage these days. People are running around saying how easy it is to make millions of dollars with absolutely no work other than “Here, use this software, push this button, line your pockets with gold.”

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To show you I’m not making this up, here are some ACTUAL screenshots of headlines used by some of these types of products. Yes, these are ACTUAL headlines. These people are really advertising “EASY” ways to make millions of dollars online.

All four headlines have one thing in common (besides being overly obnoxious of course): they’re all advertising “push-button” systems that guarantee instant success.

There’s no real content on any of the pages. There are only made up, elaborate stories referring to proven success that was achieved by the push of a button using some fancy software. The sales pages all refer to hidden, “underground” secrets that were “stolen” from guru millionaires.

The software will usually cost you just a few bucks, no more than a night out at dinner. There’s one teeny-tiny little thing that wasn’t mentioned. The software doesn’t really work as advertised. But hang on! Mr. Secret Giver has another secret to give. It’ll GUARANTEE success for only $197 more. Still not rich yet? How about this fancy new coaching program! Only $2997 and $97 a month for future lessons! It’s a steal and you’ll be rich in no time! PS. Here is a list of 57 other products you need to buy in order to achieve success.

This is more or less the exact path you’ll follow with any of these programs. They lure you in with a cheap ploy, then hit you upside the head with upsell after upsell until they bleed you dry. Even after that, they’ll come back for more with new products, cross promotions and JV deals.

Truth be told, someone will get rich, but it most certainly won’t be you. Building a business online requires W-O-R-K. It takes time, and like anything else in life, it’s not easy. Stay far, far away from any product that labels itself “push-button.”

“Just Pay Shipping!”/Negative Option Scams

Have you seen ads for something along the lines of “Work at home for Google! Make thousands per week with this FREE* training program, just pay $2 in shipping costs!” These types of scams are less prevalent today, but they still very much exist.

Negative option marketing is when you sign up for for a free program, but you just have to pay to cover the shipping costs. However, buried deep in the terms & conditions are two other programs that you automatically get signed into a “free trial” as well. If you don’t cancel after the “free trial period,” your credit/debit card is hit with surprise charges.

The problem is that sometimes you are not told about these free trials, and sometimes you are told but not clearly. It could be months before you realize you’ve been billed. The scammers make it near impossible to cancel and get a refund as well.

A Few Other Things…

Upsells. Well, I’m not entirely opposed to them. They happen. It’s business. I get it. The problems begin when the product that’s being advertised doesn’t work UNLESS you spend money on tons of upsells.

Finally, an easy way to not get scammed is to ask yourself the following question:

“What will I be doing after I sign up for this program?”

You should be able to define the type of work you’ll be doing or the main focus of the program that you’re buying into. If you can’t answer that simple question or you come up with a response along the lines of: “I’ll just be making tons of money! Hooray!” I’d seriously suggest reconsidering your purchase. It may be simple advice, but it’s probably the most effective I have to offer.

Additional Scam Fighting Resources

  • The FTC Newsroom – The Newsroom contains all of the latest news from the FTC. It’s perfect for finding out information on the latest scams they’ve uncovered.
  • FTCComplaintAssistant – Bookmark this page. If you’ve been scammed online, the FTC wants to hear about it. The more complaints against a scammer the FTC receives, the more evidence they have against them. Do your part and help shut some of these guys down.
  • WorkAtHomeNoScams – Eddy has been a friend of I’ve Tried That for years. He’s one of the few people online that I trust implicitly. He always offers great tips on ways to pull in some extra cash. Show him some love and follow a few of his recommendations. You’ll be glad you did.
  • WorkAtHomeCareers – Eddy also runs WorkAtHomeCareers.com. He’s constantly updating it with new telecommuting job leads. All for free.
  • WorkAtHomeTruth – Another long-time friend of I’ve Tried That is Paul at WorkAtHomeTruth.com. I’ve always admired Paul’s no nonsense approach and excellent video editing skills.

As always, leave a comment and stay tuned. Next week begins my series on how to actually make money online. See you then!

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Join the Discussion

  • Stacy

    Thanks so much, Steve, for keeping us informed as always. This was a wonderful, comprehensive look at how to save yourself from The Hook, and the sometime allure of scammers who just can’t wait for the gullible to sign their name on the dotted line.

    In the middle of all your hard work with your own biz, I often find it amazing that you have the energy to keep this project up and running efficiently, and always there for us. I always look forward to your newsletters because I know there will always be something new and interesting to check out.

    Thanks once again for all your hard work. I hope you know that it does not go unappreciated. Plus….$7 for a conintually renewing source of work opportunities? Amazing.

    Ah, youth. ;)


  • Lisa

    I’m lucky enough to be too broke to fall for anything that I have to pay money to make money (besides the seven bucks I paid you Steve, but that’s a different story, lol).

    Thanks as always for keeping us informed!


  • Rosemary

    It’s good to read plain common sense for once and it’s great that you take the time and trouble to keep us informed, Thank you!

  • Bobby Wyatt
    Bobby Wyatt

    I really enjoyed your post about how to spot a scam and am looking forward to your post about legal ways of making money online.

    7-30- 2011

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